Category: Myeloma

Myeloma

Test results

I got the results of the tests done last week at Duke. The report states, “Compared to 8/3/07, no significant change in previously characterized IgA lambda components from 0.28 to 0.19 and 0.12 to 0.18 g/dL.” The PA let me know that it’s possible for the m-spike(s) to drop more in the next few months. One good thing is that my IgG is normal for the first time in five years (probably a few more). It was 223 in February, 2003, for example.

Immunoglobulin Profile
IgG 709 mg/dL Reference: 588-1573
IgA 374 mg/dL Reference: 46-287
IgM 29 mg/dL Reference: 57-237
IgE 12 mg/dL Reference: 4-269

People are living longer with some cancers

According to a recent report that will soon appear in Cancer Journal, in men, myeloma, kidney and liver cancers have been rising. In women, lymphoma, melanoma and thyroid cancer continue to increase. The National Institutes Of Health says more people are living beyond five years of their cancer diagnosis.  That’s what they mean when they say cancer deaths are declining.  Probably what they should say is that more people are living longer with cancer.  What science needs to do is work on cancer prevention just as much as cancer treatment.  Finding the causes of cancer is an important factor, according to Devra Davis, the author of The Secret History of the War on Cancer.

You can hear an interview with Davis here.  Just click on “Listen.”

Uncle Fester

I think I look like Uncle Fester. All I need is an ankle length black coat with a (faux) fur collar. If you run across anything like this, let me know. I need one for my wardrobe.

You probably think I’m just joking!

It seems like little bits of hair are starting to grow. I predict that I’ll have what could be thought of as a normal amount of hair by spring. I can’t remember what happened last year. It seemed as though I had a short curly head of hair by spring.

This is what my head looks like now.

One Month Check-up

Tomorrow I’ll have my one month check-up.  It will have been a month since I was released from the Duke SCT Clinic.  I feel pretty well, with no major complaints. I’m filling a jug for them, and will have blood drawn when I get there.  Aside from CBCs, it will probably be at least a few days before I get any results.

Message from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Someone from the LLS asked me to post this.

Being diagnosed with a serious disease such as a blood cancer is terrifying and people facing a cancer diagnosis need clear accurate information and they often need that information quickly. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Information Resource Center, a call center staffed by master’s level trained professionals, is marking its 10th anniversary this fall. This call center is the only one of its kind because of the depth of individualized service it provides. There are literally hundreds of different sub-types within the blood cancers and our staff is trained to identify the special needs of each caller and help that caller find the resources he or she needs, find clinical trials, and connect with local services in his or her community. In addition to being well versed on a broad range of disease information, each specialist has an area of expertise to provide more enhanced services. The call center has received nearly 500,000 calls since its launch in 1997. Translation!
s are available in more than 140 languages. In FY ’07 the IRC received more than 75,000 calls. The IRC is currently engaged in a patient navigation study to offer proactive follow up for callers. The center is reachable at 800-955-4572, via email at infocenter@lls.org or chat online at www.lls.org and clicking live help.

Sir?

Why would anyone call me sir?  I was pumping gas today, wearing my IMF cap to cover my bald head.  I had on flowered pants and a neon orange t-shirt with a cartoon dog on it, for crying out loud. Plus, I’m only 5′ 5″ tall, not to mention other obvious attributes. There’s no way anyone could mistake me for a sir!  It happened last year when I lost my hair too. I think hair must be more important to how people perceive another person than I realized.

Remember Julia Sweeney’s Pat character? I don’t even own any clothes like that. :)

I’m here

It’s been a while since I posted.  I’ve just been taking it easy.

I’ll have my (close to) 30 day check up at Duke soon, and maybe I’ll find out that my m-spike has gone down.  My local doctor let me sneak in a SPEP a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised to see that the results weren’t much different than they were in July.

Today I walked 2 miles. I’m working my way up to 3. I even have a workout buddy, so I’m more motivated to do well. The time goes by a lot faster and is much more enjoyable when you have someone to talk with while you’re exercising.

Almost a week

Tomorrow it will be a week since I got home. I’ll have an appointment with my local oncologist for a blood test. I’ll have a weekly blood draw until I go back to Duke in about 3-4 weeks. I don’t even remember when my appointment is, so I’m counting on them sending a reminder!

I think it will be a good long while before I leave home again. I keep finding things that remind me not to trust people. For example, in my back yard someone took an old broom and burned the end of it off. There’s an ashtray on my deck with cigarette butts in it. Things are missing (including prescriptions like percocet and xanax).

I have some lingering side effects from the SCT. There’s fatigue, which must be from anemia (I’m guessing). My eyes water constantly. I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night. The first several days I had achy legs, but that’s better now. I have what looks like mild rosacea. I feel like I lost muscle mass while I was gone, because my legs are weak. I’m walking every day, but probably not as much as I should. Last, but not least, my GI tract is still not normal. I was told it could take up to a month for that to get better. I plan on writing more about what the mucositis was like. I’m just not sure when. My concentration is weak, so writing is a chore. Oh! If you’re waiting for a reply from me via email, I promise to get that done soon.